movie film review | chris tookey

Mugabe & the White African

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  Mugabe & the White African Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
8.00 /10

Directed by: Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson
Written by:

Released: 2009
Origin: UK
Colour: C
Length: 90

Excellent, moving, anti-racist documentary.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Even in January, it’s safe to predict that there won’t be a more compelling documentary this year.

This takes the lid off what is happening in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s corrupt, murderous and racist regime. It concentrates on his programme of “land reform”, a euphemism for terrorising whites into handing over their farms to Mugabe cronies, their families and mistresses.

Parallels with the Jews under Nazism are not far-fetched. These people are being persecuted and “cleansed” for the crime of belonging to a racial minority.

Courageously, Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson have filmed undercover since 2007, when so many others who might have recorded these and hundreds of similar events have fled the country.

Even braver are the people through whose eyes we see the story unfolding: 75 year-old Mike Campbell (pictured left) and his son-in-law Ben Freeth (right), a likeable pair of white farmers determined to hang on to their legally purchased farm, not only for their own family and 500 black dependants, but also because of a burning sense that Mugabe’s actions are profoundly evil and destructive of the country they love.

As in all the best documentaries, there is a strong narrative and an element of suspense, as Mike and Ben try – with a multiracial legal team and a foolhardy degree of heroism - to take the Zimbabwean dictator to the South African Development Community’s human rights tribunal for legal protection.

The story unfolds in a way that is stirring and never less than riveting. It shows an extraordinary triumph of the human spirit, though there’s an all too predictable sting in the tail.

Splendidly and often lyrically shot, with a marvellously sympathetic, dread-inducing score by Jonny Pilcher, this is one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen.

Currently on very limited release, it deserves to find an appreciative audience in mainstream cinemas. If you don’t emerge feeling angry about Mugabe and mortified at the international community’s feebleness when standing up to him, I’m afraid there is something wrong with you. And I doubt very much whether you’re a regular reader of the Daily Mail.

“The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.”

(Robert Mugabe)

“This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold."

(Robert Mugabe)

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